Eagles Push Lumberjacks, Fall In Three Sets

Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington women's volleyball team continued to show improvement against visiting Northern Arizona Thursday, Nov. 7, pushing the Lumberjacks in each set before falling in three in a Big Sky counter at Reese Court.

EWU falls to 8-18 (5-10 Big Sky) while NAU improves to 17-7 (11-4 BSC) with the win. Set scores for the match were: 20-25, 22-25, 24-26.

Junior Kelsey Julian led the Eagles with 16 kills, tying her career high she set just last weekend against Montana. She added six digs and a match-high five blocks to her impressive stat line. 

Sophomore Allie Schumacher totaled eight kills and 12 digs, just missing out on her fifth double-double of the season. Senior Ashley Wright and junior Talia Fermantez added five kills apiece.

Senior setter Lindsay Niemeier finished with 30 assists and eight digs. Sophomore Ryann Ensrud tied Julian with 12 digs. 

Northern Arizona led from the start of the first set, opening up a quick 4-1 lead. A kill from Fermantez, followed by a service ace and a kill from Julian put Eastern up, 8-7, but NAU responded with a run of its own to regain a two-point lead, 11-9. Things remained close the rest of the way as the score was tied four times midway through the set. With the score even at 16-16, the Lumberjacks reeled off four of the next five points to take a 20-17 lead only to see the Eagles cut it to one, 20-19, on kills from Julian. NAU rallied to take a 24-19 lead that would prove too much for Eastern to overcome.

The second frame began much like the first set as Northern Arizona leapt out to a 6-1 lead only to see the Eagles battle back to within one, 11-10, thanks to a pair of kills from both Wright and freshman Kylie Curtis. Eastern stayed close the rest of the way each time it seemed as of NAU was poised to pull away. The visitors took a three-point lead, 17-14, but EWU responded with a solid run of play to pull to within one, 21-20, late in the set. Northern Arizona quickly regrouped, taking a 24-20 lead after converting three straight points. The Eagles staved off set point twice but the Lumberjacks eventually converted to take a 2-0 lead into the break. 

Despite tough results in the first two sets, Eastern came out of the locker room determined to compete. This time it was the Eagles opening up an early lead as a block from Julian and Doerpinghaus gave EWU a 7-4 lead and forced NAU to call an early timeout. Eastern remained in charge for most of the set, taking a 14-10 lead thanks to a kill from Schumacher. The Lumberjacks answered with a solid run of play to tie the score at 17-17 before taking a 20-18 lead, causing Eastern to take its first timeout of the set. With NAU up 24-21, the Eagles got a kill from Julian and a pair of blocks from both Doerpinghaus and Julian to tie things at 24-24. After its second timeout, the Lumberjacks got a crucial block before a kill from Sydney Kemper gave them the set and the match.

Janae Vander Ploeg led all players with 17 kills while Kemper added 11 and a match-best 15 digs.

Northern Arizona hit .233 for the match compared to Eastern's .143 clip. NAU recorded 11 blocks to the Eagles' eight.

EWU returns to the court tomorrow against Big Sky foe Southern Utah. First serve is set for 6 p.m.

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